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story.lead_photo.caption NWA Democrat-Gazette/DAVID GOTTSCHALK Smoke rises Friday, Dec. 14, from an underground fire at the former "stump dump" site on Trafalgar Road in Bella Vista.

BELLA VISTA -- The city closed part of Trafalgar Road today so an engineering firm can install a water line at the site of an underground fire.

Donnally Davis with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality said in an email the department authorized the water line at the request of EnSafe. The state hired Memphis-based EnSafe to put out the underground fire, which has burned since late July.

The Arkansas Department of Health said Dec. 12 preliminary results of monitoring near the fire showed air quality in the "unhealthy" category, according to a news release. Everyone within a half-mile radius of the 8000 block of Trafalgar Road has been cautioned to avoid prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors.

The city of Bella Vista website said Trafalgar Road was closed entirely to traffic today between Commonwealth Road and Kingsland Road to make a street cut to accommodate an 8-inch water line. The Bella Vista Property Owners Association Water Department is installing the line.

The work was expected to be done by the end of the day, Donnally said.

The water line installation is the first step to establish a water source for smoke and fire suppression for when an action plan to extinguish the fire is developed and implemented, Donnally said.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson pledged close to a $1 million Dec. 28 to start the process to suffocate the fire. The money -- $990,000 -- will come from a state fund that has $8 million and is used to help clean hazardous and problematic sites, he said.

Tom Judson, the Bella Vista Property Owners Association's chief operating officer, previously said the association operated the dump on leased land from December 2003 until the end of 2016 when the dump was covered with soil.

Nobody monitored the site the last few years it was open, but staff members would remove trash when possible, Judson said. The stump dump operation was closed Dec. 31, 2016, according to Bella Vista's website. The property is owned by Brown's Tree Care.

Firefighters were initially dispatched to the area July 29, where they spotted smoke and what appeared to be the remains of a brush fire, Fire Chief Steve Sims previously said.

Fire Department personnel have said the fire may be burning more than 50 or 60 feet underground.

NW News on 01/11/2019

Print Headline: City installs water line at site of underground fire

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